Category Archives: Duke Basketball

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Coach K, Allen, Ingram Talk Duke win

9d1e01a0-deaa-46a7-b581-983151bf16b6The Duke Blue Devils survived a 2nd half comeback from Yale to advance to the Sweet 16.  Here is what Coach and players had to say -

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: The tournament is crazy, and you saw two games today where all four teams won a half. Thank goodness for us, we won the last minute of the second half. We knew going into the game, we're playing a championship-level team and a team that's old, extremely well-coached and together. Everything went unbelievable for us in the first half, but I didn't think we ended the half well.

It was one of those halves where everything we shot went in. They had open looks. I think they were 1-11 from three in the first half, and we told -- I told my staff at halftime, I said, you know, we have kind of like fool's gold a little bit, in that we think we're playing better defense than we are. Because their two wings are 40 percent three-point shooters, and they didn't hit a shot, and in the second half they did.

And then Sherrod had a great game. The weight of the world was on our kids, and for a young group -- Brandon hitting those two free throws is just a magnificent play.

There can't be more pressure on him, and it's a one-and-one, and we tip the ball in to make it a three-point. I don't think they tipped it; I think we tipped it in. So it was one of those things where everything -- okay, basketball gods, what else are we going to do here now? And they put Brandon Ingram on the line, and he came through.

So we beat a heck of a team. You can't simulate that type of game pressure. And for our kids to respond -- the 1-3-1 helped us immensely, and then to hit those free throws down the stretch were terrific. And we're very proud of winning our 25th game and being a Sweet 16 team. I mean, that's a heck of a thing for this group.

Q. Just talk about -- is three-point shooting infectious? Luke hits two in a row, and the rest of the team just goes off on them.

GRAYSON ALLEN: I think for us, the three-point shot is something that can give us energy. And we do have a lot of shooters on our team where we can get hot like we did in the first half. Luke starts the day hitting his first shot, Brandon starts hitting his first shot, I hit my first shot. And it can go like that for us where guys can get hot, and I think as a team we feed off of each other when we're doing that.

Q. Brandon, can you explain, as a player, what it's like in that moment that Coach was talking about, what's going through your head as you're stepping to the line to kind of sink those free throws with pretty much the entire gym kind of going against you?

BRANDON INGRAM: What was going through my head is kind of going back to practice. Coach Scheyer yesterday made me shoot about 100 free throws from the free-throw line. I knew I was there for a reason. He put me in that position because I was going to be put in that position at the end of the game, and I just went back to my roots and tried to knock the shots down.

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: One thing about that, John did a good thing. He hit 67 in a row after going 5-10 against Wilmington. Keep shooting extra free throws. (Laughter). And keep listening to Coach Scheyer.

Q. Grayson, obviously you guys take a huge lead into the half. Your coach is obviously trying to make sure you keep that sense of urgency. Are the players talking to each other on the court amongst yourselves, trying to make sure that you don't let up and allow Yale back into that game?

GRAYSON ALLEN: We were. We were talking to each other. But at the same time, Yale is a really good team and we knew they weren't going to give up, so we knew they were going to make a run. It was just up to us to respond to that run, stay composed, stay calm, and keep playing our basketball. Start out the half, they came out hitting shots and, for us, we shouldn't let the momentum carry and stop us from playing free and playing confident.

Q. Coach K talked about how, toward the end of the first half, he sensed a little bit of fool's gold and you guys started to slow down. Did you guys on the court sense that, as well?

GRAYSON ALLEN: Well, he said it to us at halftime that those guys had gotten open looks, and they just hadn't knocked down the shots. So in the second half, we couldn't give them those open looks, and we did start to off the half, and they knocked them down. And so for us, we had to be mindful of that going through the whole second half, that those guys had just made a shot, and that gives you confidence when you make a shot. So we had to be mindful of where they were, and at the same time, try to keep Mason under control.

Q. Grayson, in that moment in the second half when there's so much pressure and you guys are trying to hold onto the lead, how much does playing at Duke help you because you guys get everybody's best shot every time. So in that moment, in that second half when everybody is kind of against you and there's that push, how much does past experience of being at Duke and having that pressure constantly help you guys as a team weather the storm?

GRAYSON ALLEN: Well, for us we had to come together. I think it was pretty similar to the ACC Tournament when we had a big lead against Notre Dame, and Notre Dame came back, but in that game we didn't come together. In this game, thankfully, we had that experience that we needed to come together as a team. Because playing against a great team like that, they're going to make a run. They're going to keep fighting, and they have guys who can really score the ball. So for us really coming together -- we had a lot of huddles in the second half to just make sure guys were composed and just ready to play.

Q. As impressive as both Wichita State's comeback in the first game and, certainly, Yale's in this game were, it's also pretty impressive -- especially for a young team like yours -- to not panic and not let that get away. Certainly from the perspective you've had -- not that you've been on the comeback end that often -- how impressive is it for a team to not lose its poise and lose the game?

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: It's a great point, and you're right. Not just you, but everyone is going to write their articles, and you can say you blew a lead or whatever. Teams are -- good teams are going to get on runs, and championship teams get on runs and win, and so Yale is a championship team. They're 18-1 since Christmas. For us to weather that storm and have the wherewithal to be able to win, change the defense to 1-3-1 -- what Brandon did on top of that zone was magnificent because he shaded Mason and gave the other kids a little bit more room. So Mason never -- it wasn't just the 1-3-1, it was how he was playing it. You can't practice against that unless you have a guy who's 6'8 1/2" and a 7'3" wingspan. So you're absolutely right. I'm proud of our guys. I told them after the game, and at the last time-out, I told them how proud I was of them, because, especially in this tournament, teams lose those games. I mean, we see it -- the tournament is only -- once we get to 64, three days old. Are you kidding me? All the -- all the -- it's incredible because people always believe in miracles during this time, and they don't believe that they're ever out of it.

What that produces is miracles, or the response, tough responses like we had tonight -- well, this afternoon. I think Andy Katz asked yesterday how come there is so much parity, and I talked about championship teams. But also some of the teams that are -- Yale is not this, because they're a championship team -- but it's like free money, you know. And they don't face that during the year. So they're a championship team, and then they're expected not to win. And all of a sudden, that combination produces something in a human being, and human beings that create this type of attitude, this miracle, I can do a miracle, I can hit a shot, we can win. And it's magnificent. It's magnificent.

What we have to do, because we're expected to win no matter who we are -- age or number of players -- we have to be able to respond to that. And tonight, this afternoon -- again, I keep saying -- this afternoon, we were able to do that at the end. I'm very proud of my team for being able to do that.

Q. Obviously yesterday a lot was talked about Makai Mason. In the post game you two shared a couple moments. What did you say to him there?

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, just what a magnificent year he's had. I wanted him to know I do remember you, we just recruited Tyus. But we loved him. One of the things we loved about him was his relationship with his father. And it's produced something deep, a love for the game, a belief in yourself to go along with his talents. That's what I told him is you should tell your dad, thank you, because the two of you have been a great team to make you a great player.

Q. Coaches write keys on the white board before the game. Which of your pregame keys do you feel Duke won?

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Just more points than them. That was the main thing. It's obviously we didn't rebound very well, but we knew we were going to get open shots. And we told our guys -- a big key for the game was to be ready to shoot. And against Wilmington, Wilmington pressed, and they created this full-court thing where you were more catch-and-dribble. Yale plays good defense, but they give you a little bit of room. And although it's good man, you've got to be careful where it doesn't stand you up.

So a key to the ballgame was be ready to shoot, and our guys were. We did that extremely well, and it negated -- we were able to overcome the rebounding differential as a result of that. And that's what we have to do anyway. We're not going to be that much better at rebounding. But when those three kids score, 67 of our 71 points are from three kids, so when Luke joins those other two, we become a little bit better.

Q. Would Brandon have had that confidence, do you think, to do what he did today earlier in the season, or is this a product of an outgrowth of experience at a young age?

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, he's continued to get better. He works all the time, and we work with him. We try to put him in situations where he can use his instincts. He'll go and shoot on his own and whatever. I said, don't just shoot. I said, like, try to -- when you're doing it by yourself -- and we do it when we're working with him -- just create a shot, like you're good enough to create shots. And then if you hit them, someone is going to say that I taught you that. And so we put that in his mind that it's okay to kind of be you.

He's gotten better and better. He deserves that. He's not a plant that should be put in a jar. He's a plant that should be allowed to grow, and he's growing immensely.

Q. I believe it's your 23rd trip to the Sweet 16. My question is, can you really appreciate this group for how hard they had to work to get to this one?

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, I think I appreciate it more than anybody because I've said it since Amile went out that we might not make the tournament. Chase has started to play well this last month, but basically we're a six-man team. Chase and Brandon aren't going to be 19 until next September. They're 18 years old. Derryck is 18. So I have an unbelievable appreciation for it. That's why, Grayson carrying us a lot, and then Marshall Plumlee has been as valuable a guy as we've had because he's played all these minutes. And when -- he didn't have a good scoring night tonight, but he played well.

Our house is on a cliff, and we hope it doesn't rain. That's who we've been. And so I really have an appreciation for that.

And you know, it's not what the teams that I've coached have done. It's what this team is doing, it being their moment. I've coached a lot of -- I've coached more NCAA games than anybody. And I'll tell you what, I don't know if -- probably shouldn't watch me very much -- but if you did, you'd see a very excited and emotional coach, who looks -- not age-wise or physique-wise -- like he was when he was the coach at Army. And that's what each of my teams deserve from me and my staff is that level of commitment.

Q. You've talked throughout the year of the importance of face, of how you come off, on the court and off the court. Toward the end of the first half, when there was a 6-2 run for Yale, did you see maybe that was slipping a little bit for you guys?

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Not so much the face, but our -- Grayson was in a zone there. Like he -- whoa -- and when he hit the last one, he came back, and he didn't know who he had, and he was in la-la land, and that's what I saw. They got open, and then he commits that dumb foul. I mean, he fouled in the last -- like what are you doing?

So it wasn't like it was a face of neglect or scared or anything, it was just la-la land, like where are you, man; get back in the game.

It's tough to change that. We're young, and so we acted young. They're old, and they acted old, and it produced that second half. They were good, though. They were really good. And then we helped them.

Look, I know that's the last question. I want to thank the people here in Providence. What a great setup. I know there's so many volunteers. This was a great site. We were treated unbelievably well. So again, thank you, and for all of you, we'll see you in California, all right?

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Coach K Talks Duke vs Yale

354f02d1-42af-41c4-837a-7e211349ed21Duke takes on Yale tomorrow at 2:40 in the Western regional with the winner moving on to the sweet 16.  Here is what Coach K had to say today -

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI - On his freshman and young players. Well, I think the main thing, it shows up when we don't have good talk on the court. Our kids have always -- they have great attitudes and are really easy to coach -- or good to coach, not easy all the time -- but when they get silent, and that's what happens with younger players, they're talking to themselves. They're, what am I supposed to do? How do I feel? I missed a shot. And when they're talking to each other, they get immersed in the game. I thought you could see yesterday we were not talking.

And in the second half, we were talking. It's just a habit we try to teach, but when three of the kids are 18, four of the kids are freshmen, that's something usually an older guy does better. And that's why, as well as Marshall played in that second half, Marshall talked, and that set a good tone for everyone else to talk.

Q. One of the keys to beating UNC Wilmington was slowing them down and making them run offense in the half court, whereas that's where Yale is at its best. What pace would you like to play tomorrow?

I don't think anybody slowed anybody down yesterday. It's 90 to 90 because they kept attacking. Yale will play any pace because they're that good. We're not going to slow them down, and I'm not sure that they will slow us down. I think it'll be a fairly high -- it could be a high-scoring game because they score well, and so do we.

A big thing for us all the time is rebounding. And Yale is a terrific rebounding team on both ends, one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country. We've got to be able to hold our own then.

Q. Obviously yesterday was Yale's first-ever win in school history, but the Ivy has won five tournament games the past six years. Can you speak at all to what the Ivy has done in the tournament, to the strength of that conference?

You know, we follow the Ivy League really closely because Tommy has coached at Harvard and has done such a great job, and he and I are like father and son. We're as close as you can be. In the off-season especially, in the last few years, we've talked about the competition in the Ivy Leagues and how many good teams there are, how many good players. The level of talent in the Ivy League has risen, I think, in the last five or six years, and it's shown with what Harvard has done, Princeton, Yale, obviously. I mean, Yale, they have three first-time All-Ivy players and a two-time Player of the Year.

The Ivy League is a terrific league, and we respect it. Remember, they're going to have -- like, Yale is older. They're not just good, but they're good together. That's the best way to be good because then you know there's another person, other people on the court who've done it at a high level with you. And I think that's what the Ivy League teams have shown.

Q. Is there a way for that respect among coaches and among people in the game to sort of translate into Selection Committee?

Well, the Selection Committee has a tough job. This isn't a football bowl where 70 out of 110 -- you become bowl-eligible as soon as you win your sixth game.

For every coach who coaches in college basketball, it runs until the end of the season. You've got to win all the time. And so that selection process is difficult. So much depends on what you do if you're an Ivy League team in the non-conference. And a number of those teams, Harvard and Yale especially, have tested themselves and gone out and played these tough games. And then if you're successful, if you do a good job, you win. Then you're going to have a better chance of getting two in.

But it's tough to get into this tournament. Every coach who coaches Division I men's basketball knows that. I know even doing the tournament, everyone is about brackets and all that. Look, there's a lot of emotion for each one of these teams. I know people brush it off sometimes and say, well, they busted my bracket. Well, we're sorry. (Laughter).

What about Purdue? What a tough, tough loss.

That's how we end all but one of the teams. We don't have 35 or 36 or 37 bowl winners. We have one team. So it's difficult.

And to my brethren, my brothers in college basketball, my hat always goes off to them because they -- this is tough. And that's what makes the tournament so great. Because it's so difficult to get in, and once you're in, it means so much. It means so much.

So we know what it means to Yale. We also know what it means to us. Everyone wants to always talk about what we've done. My kids haven't done that. For a number of them, it's their first time. It doesn't make any difference how many times I've been in. It's what they're doing right now.

What else captures the whole country? War? Poverty doesn't. Fight against cancer doesn't. The election doesn't. For one month, college basketball unites the whole country. I mean, it's an amazing phenomenon. I mean, for everyone who's ever thought about changing -- should we change it to this? Don't mess it up. Don't mess it up. It's too damned good. It's too damned good.

Q. Purdue, Little Rock early in the year, likely West Lafayette, Duke, Yale. Outside of a neutral court, what makes the NCAA Tournament such a great neutralizer?

It's all about match-ups. The neutralizing thing is for the teams from the big conferences -- you only get one and maybe two champions, so you have a bunch of teams in who are good and have gone through a gauntlet in the conference. But they haven't experienced being a champion.

I haven't counted it up because I'm coaching my team, but how many champions there are. Obviously every automatic is a champion, and that brings a different -- that's a neutralizer. In other words, those kids from Wilmington, they were double champs. They've been accustomed to walking out on the court and winning. Their ego is good. It's collective. They're together. Their faces were unbelievable. And that's a big neutralizer.

They're usually a little bit fresher than some of the teams because they've been the best team. And at this time of the year, mental, physical, and then accomplishment, I think those are neutralizing factors in the tournament.

Q. Did you recruit Makai Mason in any way, shape or form? And if you did, can you tell us how that all went?

Yeah, well, we knew of Makai and his background. He's grown up in basketball. I'm not sure that we would have recruited him. I'm not saying we would have offered him -- but there's a kid playing for Minnesota right now that we -- named Tyus Jones, who would be a sophomore right now. You can't recruit unless they increase the number of scholarships.

But no, we were very impressed with him, and we're not surprised about what he's accomplished. We've been fortunate, there are a number of kids that we have looked at or not recruited that ended up being really good players, and he's really good. But Tyus, that commitment that we had to him, we didn't look at any other guards. Actually we didn't look at any other guards for a couple years.

Q. On Makai, how are you planning to stop him on defense after everything that Baylor threw at him didn't seem to work? He scored a career high 31 and really shot down their zone in the first half.

Yeah, I don't think you go into a game thinking you're going to shut down anybody, anybody who's good. What you hope is to make it as difficult as possible for their team, not just one guy, and that's what we're trying to do. I mean, our game plan is not going to be to stop one person -- because they didn't win the Ivy by one person -- although he played great yesterday.

One of the keys for us is limiting them to one shot, because they get so many offensive rebounds, and then trying to make whatever shot they take, whoever takes it, a lower-percentage shot. And that's how we approach every game.

Q. Players react differently to certain pressure put on them in certain situations. I wonder if you could speak to the way Brandon Ingram reacted to his first NCAA Tournament experience and the way he played yesterday.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, really well. That's the way he's reacted the whole year. He's been a beautiful kid to coach. We go to him. I'm not sure how many freshmen in the country are isolated as much as we isolate him, because he's -- he can make plays. He can make plays. When he is defensive rebounding -- he did that yesterday, especially in the second half -- but when he gets six, seven defensive rebounds, then he can bring that ball up the court, and that isolates him.

We give him a lot of freedom, and he's earned it, but he's not a nervous kid. He's had an amazing -- a terrific year. A no-maintenance kid, beautiful kid, just a beautiful kid.

Q. The last couple years your team has played a lot of Saturday-Monday quick turnarounds. How does that prepare you for the one-day turnaround in the tournament?

That's a good question. We get a lot of that. You end up not knowing what Sunday is, which is too bad. It's too bad. Really, what is exacted from a youngster who plays, at least in our conference, is a big commitment because they hardly ever have a true day off for a number of weeks. Because even if you give them a Wednesday or a Tuesday off, it's a school day, and they can't get away from it.

People make a lot of money, and again, I make a lot of money -- and I'd make a lot of money if we didn't have the TV contracts -- but for college sports, they make a lot of money, and so Saturday-Monday is a necessity.

But it does help you prepare for something like this, because, like, in between games, what we've been doing for the last two months, or month and a half, has been kind of like the NCAA Tournament as far as rest and preparation.

Q. A lot of people were talking about Yale versus Duke and the academic rigors. You went to a place that was pretty rigorous for college. How hard is it to do that when you look around and you see kind of what your guys are going through and what probably the Yale guys are going through. How much do you admire that?

Well, I admire it, and I would hate to characterize that Duke and Yale are the only two schools that have kids who are going to school and going through the rigors of academics and athletics or the opportunities of athletics and academics. I think it's all about -- whatever school you're at -- is creating a culture where both are identified as important. And then the discipline they learn from handling both of those things, I think, is a huge lesson for these guys.

A long time ago, 50 years ago, when I was a cadet, I looked forward to playing basketball, and it gave me balance along with what else I was doing. I think the tournament is about -- again, you sometimes just focus on kids going pro. But the tournament is about what sport does in combination with academics, and they're both incredible learning experiences. And when they're incorporated together properly, those youngsters are at an advantage, and that's why you would like to see throughout our country the funding that is necessary to keep high school sports there for kids. Because you can learn in the classroom, but when you learn on a field, a court, a pool, a track, it's real. Don't underestimate the impact of sport in education.

When I went to West Point, there's an expression, "Every cadet an athlete." Because they understood that whether you're in an intramural club sport or varsity, because they felt if you were not -- and you had to be a 3 throughout the year. When I wasn't playing basketball, I was in intramural baseball or flag football or doing something -- you can imagine that, huh? Actually a pretty good hitter with a bad pitcher.

But that combination is what this tournament is about, to have that combination of athletics and academics. Anyway, I hope we do a good job and you enjoy watching us play tomorrow. Thanks.

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Allen, Ingram Talk Duke-Yale

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Duke hoop stars Brandon Ingram and Grayson Allen share their thoughts on the upcoming game with Yale.

Q. Grayson, do you anticipate a real change of pace from Yale than you got from Wilmington?

GRAYSON ALLEN: I think the game will be a little bit different. Wilmington really likes to put pressure on you for 40 minutes and really speeds up the pace of the game, a lot of shots are getting up. Guys are running up and down the court, where Yale is different. But still a really good team. They're not the pressing team that Wilmington is, but they are a very solid defensive team, one of the best rebounding teams in the country. And then offensively, they're sharp and they have a great scorer in Mason and a great big guy inside with Sears. They're going to be a really tough match-up.

Q. Grayson, do you have any takeaways from the first game against Yale in November?

It's tough to really look at that game at all just because both teams are so different now. It's really like two different seasons from then to us playing them now. So we can't look much into that game.

They're a completely different team since then, and we've grown as well, too. That game was almost like two different teams playing, and so we have to look at what we've done recently.

Q. Brandon, you had come off three kind of tough games before you played Yale the first time. That was kind of the start of 25 of 27 consecutive double-digit scoring games. What was it about Yale that you saw that kind of projected you into the season you've had?
BRANDON INGRAM: I think just me starting off slow through the season, and I think I've been working very hard, as well, this year to get to the point where I'm at right now. Just working very hard. And just seeing the problem that Grayson had in his freshman year, him coming off the bench and just showing sparks, that there's potential, just knowing how to get back in the gym, working hard, and just getting ready to play the next battle.

Q. Brandon, I hear players talk all the time about how the NCAA is a different level, it's a different intensity, it's a different feel out there. You certainly didn't seem to have any problem with it. I wonder just mentally how you prepared yourself for that first game.

Just listening to my teammates. We have guys that have been here before and just listening to the leaders on our team, just developing confidence over the season, and knowing that I can play with these guys and just adjusting to the physicality of the game.

Q. Brandon, what makes you such a tough player to defend?

Back to the basics, just my teammates around me. They drive and kick the ball to me. I'm able to shoot the ball and able to get around slower defenders. I use my length a lot, and I try to use my quickness around slower defenders.

Q. Brandon, Yale had a great game rebounding against a very physical and large Baylor team. What have you guys been planning to do to try and combat Yale's rebounding edge on both offense and defense?

That's definitely a point of emphasis for us, being that rebounding is a weak point for our team, just having a sense of urgency going into that game, just knowing that we have to offensive rebound and defensive rebound.

Q. Grayson, you talked about two different teams from November to now. You matched up against Makai back in November. He had 31 points yesterday. Have you seen anything in him and his growth over the season that you've seen personally?

Well, I think with how their team is now, he's doing a great job of handling the bulk of point guard responsibilities, creating for other guys. But at the same time, he's doing a great job of pulling up and finding his own shot within their offense. You know, yesterday he hit a lot of tough shots, tough pull-ups, and that's the kind of player he is. He makes tough shots and he's really crafty with the ball, whereas it's going to be tough to keep him in front one-on-one. For us it's going to have to be a team effort against him.

Q. Grayson, how would you compare the difference for you personally a year ago when you were much more of a role player to now where you are expected to produce and one of the leaders on this team?

It's different, just the atmosphere around you personally is different. Last year I wasn't up here answering questions. I'm back in the locker room. And when the game time comes around, I'm not starting out running onto the floor. I get some time on the bench to collect myself.

This year there's a lot of pressure. We have guys that -- we only have one guy on our team that's ever started a tournament game before yesterday, so it's a learning process. But for us we can't be timid, can't be tight. We just have to come out here and play free like we have all season, just be confident.

Q. Coach K was hired 36 years ago today. Can you talk about playing for him, what it's like for you guys as individuals knowing you're part of that?
GRAYSON ALLEN: It's a huge honor to be coached by one of the greatest coaches of all time, regardless of the sport. He's a tremendous leader and teacher on and off the court. For us to be a part of that, we have to -- really there are some days where you just kind of realize and take it all in that you're a part of a great legacy by a man who's been a great coach. And so for us, we need to take full advantage of that while we're here.

We're all ears, listening to everything he has to say, every suggestion. And he leads by example so much because of his competitive fire shown every day. We see how hard he's working for us, and so we want to do the same for him.

INGRAM: For me it's a tremendous honor. I know for myself and my teammates, he develops a lot of opportunities for us, just having the depth of guys that we have and just being able to fight and be tough under his coaching and just listening to him. I think everything he says is golden.

Q. Brandon, Marshall had a great game yesterday, obviously, 23 points, a career high. Is there any discussion in the locker room about maybe playing for him since this is his senior year and his last chance?

Most definitely. I think he's the anchor of our team right now, and just us feeding off his emotion going into games is -- we see how hard he plays every game, and we try to match his intensity.

Q. Grayson, you guys have played a fair amount of Saturday-Monday games the last couple years. How does that prepare you for kind of the one-day turnarounds of the tournament?

With the short recovery time, it's something we have to really focus on, what we're doing in between games. Because we do have a very short bench, and we don't go very deep as a team, and a lot of guys are playing almost the entire game. So for us, it's important to get our bodies right. It starts immediately after the game, and not only our bodies, but to get mentally focused. We have to move on from playing a tough Wilmington team to now scouting a very tough Yale team. So for us, we have to be mentally focused on this day in between that we get, and get ready for them.

Q. The Yale game earlier in the year was kind of the first time you guys had featured the zone, that you went to that 1-3-1 kind of match up. How comfortable are you guys seeing that zone now that the year has gone on, and are we going to see more of the zone or the man-to-man, or is it two different match-ups?

ALLEN - We're very comfortable in our zone. We do have a bunch of different defenses that we can use. For us, down the stretch, we've been primarily a man team and that's what we would like to play. I think at the end of the day, that just comes to stopping your man. I think we have a very young team, and as we've grown older, we've learned more about our principles and applying them in the game, where to be on help side, so our man defense has gotten a lot better, and that's our primary thing, but we also have our zones in our back pocket.

638951ec-af85-4a25-a182-83e09f143959

Allen, Jones, Plumlee Post Game

638951ec-af85-4a25-a182-83e09f143959Here are post game comments from Grayson Allen, Marshall Plumlee and Matt Jones,

Q. Marshall, can you tell us how your injury is doing, how it's progressed over the week?
MARSHALL PLUMLEE: We've been making great progress, and the bone that I broke up here is such a small bone that it starts to heal pretty quickly. Swelling has gone down, and most importantly, I've gotten comfortable playing in a mask these last few days of practice and kind of fine tuning that mask to give me better visibility. So it's going great.

Q. Grayson, you're playing a lot of minutes. How are you recovering? What is your sort of day after a game recovery, and how are you keeping your body together with all the minutes you're playing?
GRAYSON ALLEN: Yeah, well, all the guys are playing a lot of minutes. We make sure that any of the extra time that we get outside of school and the practice time, we're in the training room getting extra treatment, whether that's the cold tub, extra stretching, or any kind of extra body or muscle work with our trainers Nick and José. And just making sure we're taking care of our body, hydrating outside of practice and making sure we eat enough, and sleep has been really big, as well.

578dd93a-0081-40aa-b2ea-6f2b1f89c5dfQ. Grayson, can you address what you know about Wilmington's backcourt, what kind of match-ups they'll present you?
GRAYSON ALLEN: We know they have a very dangerous backcourt, Ponder, Ingram and Flemmings. They're able to stretch the floor with Flemmings on the floor, as well. We know that they're kind of similar to us with four guards. But they're a very fast team, and they're going to push the ball up, and the guards that they do have are very quick. They have smaller guards, but they're a lot faster. That's something that we're going to have to be mindful of and really get back in transition.

Q. Grayson, you brought up sleeping. How many hours a night do you think that each of you sleep?
GRAYSON ALLEN: I would say, I think Marshall gets the most. He's always the first to bed.

MATT JONES: Old man.

GRAYSON ALLEN: Yeah, he's the old man. But at least eight. I think Marshall goes for around ten.

MATT JONES: Yeah, you hit it on the nail. Marshall usually gets the most, but for me, I can say eight as well.

MARSHALL PLUMLEE: Yeah, like they say, I'm a growing boy, so I would say at least eight, pushing for nine.

Q. Grayson, you were actually second on the team last year in scoring per 40 minutes. You obviously have confidence in your ability. How much of that performance in the national title game allowed you to take it to the next level this season?
GRAYSON ALLEN: I think it was a confidence boost going into this year for me. Being able to do it on that stage, I think gave me the confidence to do it just starting out the season. With that, I also had to go into the summer with the mindset of I had a lot to improve on because I couldn't -- in the national championship game, I was able to give us energy, but I knew for next year I was going to have to do more than that with scoring the ball in a bunch of different ways and becoming more of an all-around player. For me, I think it was big for my confidence, but I still had to get back and work hard for next season.

8360b91c-a051-461a-93ed-134144ef2533Q. Marshall, you talk about getting more comfortable with the mask. In D.C., what was it like just dealing with that? Were the sight lines weird? Did it get sweaty? What was it like handling that or dealing with it?
MARSHALL PLUMLEE: I was fine. No excuses for my play that game. I have a great training staff, and they did everything in their power to get me ready. I was as ready as you could be. You can't go blaming a mask when honestly it gave me the opportunity to be out there on the floor.

So it was fine, but I will say, over the course of this past week it's gotten better and better each time I've gotten a chance to use it.

Q. Grayson, this time last year you were sort of playing a supporting role on a team with players that were getting a lot more attention. Now you're sort of one of the faces of the program and one of the more recognizable college basketball players out there. How different does this feel getting ready for your second trip to this tournament?
GRAYSON ALLEN: To me, I think I kind of feel the full excitement this time around. Last time I didn't know what to expect, and I wasn't a part of this. I wasn't here at the podium, and I wasn't one of the guys answering all the questions in the locker room, so to be in this position is different. And I think for us as the returning guys, we have a lot more excitement. We've all had bigger roles coming into this year, and it's a lot more exciting this year.

Q. Marshall, just talk about the grind of the ACC and its tournament. And once you've gone through that, is there anything here that's going to surprise you or challenge you?
MARSHALL PLUMLEE: Yeah, the ACC has done a great job preparing us because there's tough competition from top to bottom. And especially the way the scheduling worked out, with having games back to back days and some of the tough stretches we've had to go through, it simulates tournament play in such a way that, when we come up to opponents like UNCW or are faced with environments like the tournament, we can think back and reference different points during the ACC schedule and be like, look, we've been through this before, this is how we handled this, this is what we can do better. So the ACC is tough, but it's given us tremendous experience.

Q. Marshall, you and your brothers have played in so many of these NCAA games. Now, you being a senior, this is going to be the last time. Have they given you any advice on what you're going to be feeling the next few days, and have you given any thought to that?
MARSHALL PLUMLEE: They've given me advice, but more just in general as a player. Both of us having been on national championship teams, we both kind of have a sense of what it takes to go the distance. There's not too much they can fill me in on other than just lifting me up in general as a player. They're very encouraging. But more than anything, they try to give me my space because they know during this time of the year a lot of people try to come into your life who weren't necessarily there with you for the rest of the season. And so you've got to have the horse blinders on and kind of focus on what the team needs from you and not a lot of outside distractions.

Q. Grayson, obviously Wilmington has won 25 games. Just how aware were you of what they were doing this season? How much did you know about them when that match-up popped up on the screen?
GRAYSON ALLEN: Well, during our season it's hard for us to focus on anything really outside of our conference. When it does get towards the end of the year, I think we're all watching the conference tournament games because they're so exciting. So we saw them win the CAA, and then going through scouting, we've seen a lot of film on them, and they're a really talented team. You look at what they've been able to do. They've won a lot of games this year, and they've been really successful. They're a team that's going to get after you for 40 minutes, and that's something we have to be ready for.

Q. Grayson, Wilmington plays a style similar to Louisville. You guys had some trouble at Louisville last time you played them with your pressure, a lot of turnovers. What do you take from that experience into this game?
GRAYSON ALLEN: Well, we have to learn from it. I'm thankful that we had that kind of game to prepare us for Wilmington. I mean, we know the pressures are going to be similar, and it's not going to be an easy task because they play a lot of guys, and the pressure is going to be on the whole game, and it's going to be the whole length of the court. So for us, we have to be sharp. We can't get into a rush. We can't play tired and make mistakes when we're inbounding the ball, just careless stuff, giving the ball over. They're a team that's going to try to force a lot of turnovers. We just can't give them any easy ones.

Q. Matt, Grayson is kind of viewed as the next guy that people dislike at Duke. There's always someone. How does the rest of the team deal with that kind of noise during the season?
MATT JONES: Coach does a really good job of kind of portraying the message of one voice. We watch TV just as well as y'all do, so we know what they say about Grayson, but we just make sure that Grayson knows that we have his back. We haven't done a good job of that the whole year, but at this time of the year, especially, we have to make sure that G knows that, and as a team, we rally behind him.

Q. Matt, you're obviously playing an in-state team in UNC Wilmington. Do you sense any extra effort or something to prove out of the other in-state teams you play, whether it be NC State, Wake Forest or anyone else outside of conference?
MATT JONES: There's a possibility. Obviously being in the tournament, everyone has that sense of urgency themselves. They have a couple guys from that area where Duke is so, I mean, they could definitely have an added sense of urgency to themselves. But at the same time, we know that every team we face, they're going to bring their best, so we have to bring ours.

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Coach K Post Game Comments

3c2b2668-0c56-4e18-be52-affd1a4d2e27MIKE KRZYZEWSKI OPENING STATEMENT -We're excited to be here. Our team is healthier than it has been over the last two weeks, and we're in spring break right now, so that's helped us as far as travel, practice, getting rest, and so we're excited to play. We know our opponent is a championship team. They play an exciting style. You can tell that they're really a together group, expect to win and play hard and well together. So we know that the game will be a difficult one for us, but we're also excited to play it.

After the grind of the ACC Tournament and the whole season, do you almost have to reboot a little bit when you come into the NCAA Tournament?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, we had to in the last couple weeks of the regular season because we had that -- in certain conferences, sometimes the conference schedule just goes at even a higher level. And we had like Louisville, Virginia, Carolina, and Louisville, four in a row, when we were 6-4, and we were able to win three of them and almost won the fourth one. That took a lot out of our team.

But it also did a lot for our team because when you play that level of team and fight and are successful, you get a level of confidence that then really made us an NCAA team. People would say, well, you should always be an NCAA team. Well, at 6-4, we were not an NCAA team. We had to earn it, and we did during that time. But we got beat up a little bit, just because you give so much.

I thought we were tired even the last week of the regular season. I thought we were refreshed again up to a point of the ACC, and we played about 70 minutes of good basketball, and did not play well in the last 10 minutes against Notre Dame. Matt was still not there, and then he was getting sick, and that night he wouldn't have been able to play if we had won against North Carolina the next night because he just threw up and was in bed for 24 hours.

We've gotten over a lot of that stuff, and none of that is happening now. Again, because they're young, they can get refreshed quicker. Like for me, I need a long time, and it may not ever happen. But for them, I think a few days and no contact -- we gave them off Friday and Saturday, no contact on Sunday -- and had a good workout, I think it's helped us.

Coach, you've obviously coached so many pros through your career, and a lot of guys recently have been some of the one-and-done type of guys. Brandon Ingram might fall into that category this year.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, he will.

Did you ever talk to him about the pressure specifically for you guys to win? Do you have to talk about him managing the pressure of this moment and almost not think about that?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: We talk about -- not so much the pressure, but the opportunity and that if things go the way they should go, this will be his only time that he can play in the tournament. That's opportunity, not so much what it does for your draft. He's not going to be affected that much one way or the other by it. But he will be affected by the memory of what he does in the tournament. In other words, this is your one shining moment. This is the one time you will be in the NCAA Tournament, and to make the most of that opportunity.

In saying that, Brandon has been consistently good, consistently outstanding the whole year, and the games where he didn't play well, as well, are usually games that he got in foul trouble. That's a key to our team is keeping him out of foul trouble and Plumlee out of foul trouble. When those two kids have been out of foul trouble, they've played well, we've played better, and we've won big.

He's in a good place. He's in a really good place. He's having fun, and he's a beautiful kid to coach. He's what I call a no-maintenance guy. There's never couch time. There's never you have your mind on other things -- he loves playing basketball. He loves being coached, and he loves being at Duke.

You were talking about your short rotation, obviously. Is there a comfort, though, with that, that they're all sort of -- we're it, and they know that, and they sort of circle the wagons?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, they've done it since Amile has been out, so they're accustomed to it. I think one of the very best things that can happen to a player is that he knows he's going to play, and he knows when he's going to play and how he's going to be used and who he'll be on the court with. Our guys have had that opportunity.

Our starters know that they could play 40 minutes, and they like that. The new thing for us is that Jeter has played well the last few weeks, and so he's on a real upward swing, and the guys have really loved that. It's given him even more energy. And Sean Obi, his knees have been better, and he came in and gave us a few minutes against Notre Dame. They feel good about it, and they know how to -- I don't want to use the word pace. They know how to play. If they start pacing, then that's not going to be good. But they know how to play significant minutes, and we've been -- and I hope we don't get into this -- but we've played with serious foul trouble where guys had to play 12 minutes at the end of the game with four fouls, play eight to ten minutes in the first half having two fouls, that type of thing. So hopefully those experiences will help us in the tournament.

Last Thursday after the Notre Dame game, guys were very disappointed the way it turned out. You mentioned the physical rest they got. How about the mental recovery from that, and what have you learned from that experience?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, in some respects, it's good to come into the tournament losing a game that you should have won, where it's a tough loss. Even though you're excited about the tournament, you're not giddy. You're not like, we just won and -- no, no, we just lost, and we lost a game that we feel we should have won. So I think you grow up doing that. The extra rest is good for us. We didn't try to lose the Notre Dame game to get it. Notre Dame beat us.

I think mentally we're good. I think we're good. We're ready to go. We're ready to go. Whoever this team is, it's as good as it's been all season right now except -- since Amile. And that's where you want to be at this time of the year. They're a good group. They're a tight group. Let's go.

Mike Pressler is a guy that you were a colleague with for a long time, and he's done some pretty impressive things as a school just north of this city. I was wondering if you could speak to any relationship you've had with him over the years?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, they're great friends. You know, Mike and Sue are great, great friends. They were coaching at Duke -- even the last part, we were really close. My oldest daughter Debbie -- two of my daughters are with me, and we have seven of our nine grandchildren here for the game, and hopefully games -- and I know Debbie has talked a lot to Sue. They were great friends, and just a beautiful family, and a heck of a coach. I'm glad that he -- it doesn't surprise me what he's done because, even since leaving Duke, he's been our national team coach for the U.S., and they're just a great team, the two of them, Coach and his wife. They know what they're doing. We love them.

 It's inevitable that players when they're as talented as Brandon get compared to other players who have come before them. What do you tell a player when he's facing consistent comparisons to guys who are playing at the next level?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: To enjoy it. To realize, though, that they're not that good at that time. You know, kids are in the moment. That's just a compliment, and he doesn't try to pattern his game after anybody. And we don't have -- just like with our team, we don't try to make Grayson Allen like J.J. or Brandon like whoever. I don't know, there's not a guy -- he's kind of unique. In other words, find out who you are. During the time that we have the honor of coaching you and you being at Duke, let's develop who you are, not try to make you into something that someone else thinks you are.

That's why every year we try to -- not only try, but we do -- we personalize our offense for those guys, and then we change as the year -- like this year, we've changed our offense a number of times because the kids continue to get better, Brandon and Grayson in particular, and then Luke has come on, and then Marshall. Instead of putting them in the same recipe, so to speak, we try to devise something new for them. And Brandon is going to be in a growth spurt for a number of years, not just physically, but game-wise. He's got a great future ahead of him.

Coach, you are very experienced in first-round match-ups like this where you have your team and then you're going up against a mid-major team like UNCW. What's different about UNCW compared to other teams that you've faced of this competition level in the 1st round?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, actually most of it is there's no difference. The common thread is always that they're champions. You wouldn't be a so-called mid-major or someone from a one-bid league unless you've won a lot, unless you're good, unless you're together, unless you're well-coached. Those are all the things that Wilmington has. They're right there. I mean, they're right there.

And then that team can beat you. The realization is that sometimes they have and sometimes they haven't. We advanced a lot more than we haven't. It's pretty obvious. But can they beat us? They can definitely beat us. We prepare for them with that level of respect and preparation. I mean, I've watched maybe six games of theirs, and in every one they have a good verve. They play to win. They play to win, and they have a style that fits their personnel really well.

You just touched on Brandon a second ago. Can you give a sense of his arc this year of development? He's come a long way since some struggles early and just how you've seen him improve and adjust to the college game.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, well, the chart of improvement is just going to keep going because, first of all, he wants to. Secondly, he's a really hard worker, loves the game. We keep learning more about him, so we keep changing things -- I'm not saying big-time, but subtle changes -- to use his abilities, and it's going to keep growing. We hope that during this tournament, because it'll be his only time in the tournament, that he takes it to as high a level as he can right now. That's all I've talked to him about is just take advantage of this moment.

He's not worried about -- like he's not thinking about the pros -- he knows the pros are going to be there. He loves Duke and he loves his guys. He's been -- he's very similar to the guys from last year. They loved where they were, and they love where they are now. But they also love the fact that they did their best in the tournament, and that's what we want Brandon to experience.

54

Duke Outlasts Pack

54The Duke Blue Devils won a 93-89 thriller over the N.C. State Wolfpack to advance to the next round of the ACC Tournament.  If you like offense today's game was heavenly for you.  As expected the Wolfpack gave Duke their very best shot behind Anthony Barber who ended the game with 29 points while dishing 7 assists.

Duke got a monster first half effort from Brandon Ingram who scored 22 points, but his play tailed off in the 2nd half.  No problem for Duke in that Luke Kennard played a very steady game and added 22 points of his own.

But the star of the game for Duke was Marshall Plumlee who had a solid double-double of 17 points, grabbed 10 rebounds while swatting 4 shots away.  And what was more impressive is he came back into the game after suffering a broken nose where teammate Matt Jones accidentally elbowed him. And when he came back into the game, he made some key plays down the stretch.

The Blue Devils needed their solid offensive effort for the defense was less than stellar in this game.  In a contest where both teams shot over 50% from the field and 20 three points shots were made  -- a single defensive play made a difference.  A late steal from Grayson Allen helped valuable time elapse as Duke held on for  the win after a desperation shot ended the game.  Allen ended the contest with 19 points and a team high 6 assists.

Duke has mere hours before they play Notre Dame, a team that has had their number of late.  With the win today, Duke moves to 23-9.

Box Score